Atheist clubs are springing up in American high schools, warns head of US Catholic bishops

A “triumphalistic, self-righteous atheism” inspired by the work of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris is winning a following among American young people, leading to “atheist clubs” in high schools, according to Cardinal Francis George of Chicago.

The cardinal, who is President of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, says that unbelief among young people is more than a question of stopping going to church: it is part of a fashionable “new atheism” which is every bit as intolerant as Christian fundamentalism. He told John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter:

“In Chicago, we now have atheist clubs in high schools. We didn’t have those five years ago. Kids I would have confirmed in the eighth grade, by the time they’re sophomores in high school say they’re atheists. They don’t just stop going to church, they make a statement. I think that’s new. That’s perhaps a bit more like Europe.”

The Cardinal agreed with Allen’s suggestion that that the atheism of Dawkins and Harris was “highly evangelical”:

“Yes it is, sure. Everybody has said that, and it’s true. It’s the mirror image of a kind of fundamentalism, because it’s very restrictive in its use of reason. It’s also very triumphalistic and self-righteous.”

The Cardinal’s comments will be hard to dismiss as scaremongering. YouTube is crawling with videos by articulate, friendly American teenagers and university students proclaiming their uncompromising atheism; indeed, atheism is one of the fastest-growing movements in the 18-25 age group, casting doubt on old assumptions that the religious impulse is somehow hard-wired into the American psyche.

Yet, as Cardinal George says, there is something strongly akin to religious fundamentalism in the evangelical commitment it arouses in its adherents. He, and the whole of the American Church, must be praying that the certainty of unbelief wears off as the “new atheists” have children and face the prospect of mortality. But, as statistics from Europe indicate, this not a foregone conclusion: atheism, like any other belief system, can be passed from one generation to the next.

blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100012851/atheist-clubs-are-springing-up-in-american-high-schools-warns-head-of-us-catholic-bishops/

ncronline.org/news/people/cardinal-georges-plan-evangelize-america#

On The Telegraph article, someone called James responded to the article with the
following comment:

‘‘While, I don’t agree with the less than secularist attitude of Richard Dawkins, with his particular personality, or his weakness of assertion; I don’t see how any one can deride such strong Atheist gatherings in America of all places. They suffer the greatest discrimination in the country, with their lives ridiculed at every turn by the Media and government. They are the least trusted and most disliked minority by a huge stretch (far more so than evenMuslims), have little to no support, have had a recent President claim that they are not real citizens, and suffer the complete lack of any real opposition to this mindset. I couldn’t ever feel anything but happy that they are going beyond self-interest atheism and actually trying to promtoe themselves socially beyond that, as it’s the only way they’ll ever feel good about themselves and do anything about a society that treats them with contempt. Self-righteous they should be.’’

Is this really true? Because I don’t above that at all

A 2006 study found that atheists were the least trusted group in the US.

blog.lib.umn.edu/edgell/home/Strib%20Atheist%20Faith%20and%20Values.html

The fact that atheists are distrusted is not correlated with the phenomenon of a growing number of young persons who are buying-into Richard Dawkins’ propaganda.

Perhaps they are buying into Dawkins’ propaganda because they are tired of mindless anti-evolutionists.

If a young person is told from early childhood by parents, pastor and Sunday school teacher that “You cannot be a real Christian unless you believe in a literal Genesis: 6 days 6,000 years ago” then they tend to accept that what they are told is true. When they later find out that all the evidence is for an earth that is 4.5 billion years old they often act on what they were told and become non-Christian.

The YEC insistence that you can only be a real Christian is you accept their literal interpretation of Genesis is extremely dangerous for Christianity in the long term. It ties the acceptance of Christianity to something that is demonstrably false beyond all reasonable doubt. Tying your credibility to a falsehood is not a good long term strategy.

rossum

Why do Atheists needs atheist clubs, and a convention?

A guy called Matt Slick, non-Catholic Christian, documents his journey to the 33rd annual atheist convention in Seattle, Washington in 2007. I think it’s very interesting.

  1. Creed

A. No God, anti-God, Pro-homosexuality, anti-Christianity.

B. Atheism is a belief. I know that many atheists will disagree with this, but the atheists gathered around a common belief of no God, or lack of God, and the need to increase what they perceive as separation of church and state in America.

  1. Crisis

A. Created a problem and offered a solution. The problem was religious oppression in society with atheistic ideals as the solution.

  1. Assemblies

A. Gathered in groups with meeting times. Atheists don’t meet nearly as frequently as Christians do in their churches, but they do have state meetings, national meetings, and regular gatherings.

  1. Pulpit

A. The lectern from which speeches were made, their ideas were promoted, and their reasons for their belief system were validated.

  1. Evangelistic

The atheists sought converts to their cause. They frequently spoke about getting the idea of atheism out into society, and to move people away from theism.

  1. Celebration over converts

A. Rejoiced when converts to their belief system were announced. There was applause and excitement when there were announcements about people who had “come out of the closet” and announced their atheism.

  1. Zealous for their cause

A. They wanted their cause and belief system expanded to the extent of changing America to reflect their thinking.

  1. Exclusive

A. Only they have the truth. The atheists repeatedly spoke of how atheism was the truth, and that theists and deists were ignorant of facts and reason.

  1. Us against them mentality

A. There was a profound description of the division between atheism and theism, with the atheists being the ones who were defending themselves against the intrusive theists.

  1. Concerned about public image

A. This is normal. They were very concerned with how they were perceived and wanted to change their negative reputation.

  1. Lack of critical thinking

A. This is common everywhere. Though they thought they were rational, by far most of the arguments and comments weren’t.

  1. Misrepresentation of opposing views

A. Again, another common trait among people who gather in groups, have a common ideology, and see others as being less enlightened.

  1. Voting block

A. The atheists mentioned voting as a group in order to progress their cause in society.

14.** Infighting**

A. This is normal for groups. We don’t all see eye to eye. But, they all held to atheism even though they had disagreements about some particulars.

  1. Money

A. They didn’t have tithing, but there were plenty of things for sale. And, let’s not forget to mention how they sought donations to help cover the costs of promoting atheism, paying speakers, renting facilities, etc.

He continues, ‘‘I think it is rather ironic that those who are against religion so much are, in actuality, so religious themselves. I couldn’t help but smile and see the natural tendency of people to gather around an idea, develop a cause, and then promote it. Unfortunately, the atheists have gathered around non-belief and want that non-belief promoted in society. All I have to say is, eternity is a long time to be wrong.’’

Read more here: carm.org/secular-movements/atheism/religion-atheism

carm.org/secular-movements/atheism/33rd-annual-atheist-convention

Didn’t atheism in the 20th century, (some of it), used to be more intellectual? Nowadays it’s based on poor formulated ideas, mocking of Religion, and evangelism.

True. A lot of it is based on Darwinian mythology, as peddled by Richard Dawkins and others. I quick look at YouTube young-atheists arguing about evolution is enough to see that.

Lax, dissenting, compromised Catholicism spawns fundamentalist Christian sects and militant atheism.

When a young person is told by his parents and pastor that “sex outside of marriage is a sin”, then they will tend to believe it is true.

When later they find out that having sex without the benefit of marriage is the acceptable norm in our society, they realize that their religious views are false and they become militant atheists.

It ties the acceptance of Christianity to something that is demonstrably false beyond all reasonable doubt. Tying your credibility to a falsehood is not a good long term strategy.

I would tend to agree with this except that the same young people embrace the errors of Dawkins, Harris and other atheistic-materialists.

Richard Dawkins Still Peddling Haeckel’s Fraudulent Embryo Diagrams

I thought Richard Dawkins’ science was outdated, but I didn’t realize just how badly outdated until I watched this amazing You Tube clip from “The Genius of Charles Darwin,” a science documentary Dawkins hosted last year. If you watch until 7 minutes and 30 seconds into the clip, you will see Ernst Haeckel’s bogus embryo diagrams magically appear onscreen right before your very eyes:
That’s right, Richard Dawkins circa 2008 was still peddling fraudulent “evidence” for evolution that no self-respecting embryologist would defend, and that most biology textbooks dropped years ago …

I watched a video a couple of nights ago where Dawkins claimed that the evolution of the giraffe’s neck was due to their need to stretch to eat leaves at the top of trees.

So, if your view is correct, then we shouldn’t worry about this kind of atheistic-Darwinism because it has no long-term future.

But as I see it, it has simply grown stronger since Darwin’s era. The primary reason for that is not because of the growth of YEC creationism (how do students get “sick” of that while being exposed only to atheistic-Darwinism in schools?).

Dawkins-styled evolutionary atheism is growing because Catholicism has offered little or no defense or alternative to it. This has nothing to do with YEC creationism, but rather, the uncritical acceptance of any and every claim of evolutionary theory – including the contradictory claims.

I would add that they have Sacred Doctrine – namely, Darwinian theory. Nobody is permitted to question or doubt it. The punishment for that kind of blasphemy is ridicule, exclusion and having atheists make up names for you:

Just listen to them as they limber up in the insult room: Dumbski, Little Mikey Behe, Stevie Meyer (a regression to school yard taunts irresistible at both the Panda’s Thumb and Talk Reason), the creationist playbook, creationist pablum, creationism in a cheap tuxedo, tired creationist canards, creationist cranks, ID’iots, creotards, creos, sky fairies, liars for Jesus. I’ve even seen Disco’Tute, this the invention of an elderly fellow at the Panda’s Thumb who, like Polonius, imagines that he is the soul of wit. One lunatic named Quick or Quack — or is that simply the sound of his posts? — has become fond of the phrase *mendacious intellectual pornography *and has so overused it that his fellow bloggers have taken to attacking him. When they do, Quick as a Quack responds that they are guilty of mendacious intellectual pornography. The gabble is as unedifying as it is unending. – David Berlinski, interview

Stopped reading right there.

While it’s good to see some ideas on how you think the Church can become more successful, I think it’s important to note what Cardinal George said and not seek to impose radically different ideas into his commentary.

In this case, he said nothing at all about YEC creationism as being a cause of the movement towards atheism.

He did give views on what he thinks are the causes of atheism (or secularism as he called it) though:

Q: You write that the greatest post-Vatican II failure was the failure to form laity engaged with the world but on faith’s terms. How do we do that today?

Cardinal George: I think that’s behind the bishops’ concern about the universities, about education, about the reform of catechesis, all these formative influences.

Notice, he didn’t mention YE Creationism. The biggest failure was a lack of formation – and the failure of Catholic universities, education and catechesis.

He responded again:

You asked if bishops are responsible for the kind of disdain, or contempt, in which bishops are sometimes held by both left and right, for different reasons. The Second Vatican Council said we have to present the church to the world, and the truth of the gospel, and it said that you don’t have to worry about people who don’t believe. [The idea was that] this is so beautiful that they will come along and accept it, but that’s not true. You have people who weren’t catechized – not because they weren’t told the truth, but because they weren’t told ‘this is not the truth, and here’s why.’ That’s why I write about putting apologetics back into catechesis.

Again, Cardinal George did not cite the menace of YE Creationism as a problem.

Instead, he cites lame catechesis – the kind of compromise that fails to confront the attractive but false ideas of atheistic-evolution (of the Dawkins variety).
This is the problem. He points to a breakdown in Catholic education – a failure to teach apologetics.

All of this is obvious to anyone who has observed the diminution of the Church in the U.S. over the past 4 decades.

There’s nothing wrong with the name Matthew Slick. :smiley:

Well put, rossum Perhaps the growth of atheist clubs is salutary, in that it will serve to wake Christians up to the fact that you can only pull the wool over people’s scientific eyes for so long, before they ask themselves about religion, “Who needs this nonsense?”

I had lunch with Richard Dawkins recently, and found him quite congenial. In fact, he was quite interested in hearing about a project on which I’m serving as theological consultant: a goup of Catholic schools are collaborating on sponsoring a whole year of evolution education across the curriculum, as part of the Darwin bicentennial. Richard asked if there was any way he could help promote this. Of course, I’m being careful with this offer…

StAnastasia

Why is it that Christianity and Islam demand tolerance from everyone, but refuse to tolerate those they disagree with?

Well, you have to ask yourself: are all ideas equal? The answer of course is “No” because they produce different results. That is not to say that I can’t find similar traits among the various religions. However, some ideas are more right than others. It’s not so much that Islam is wrong compared to Christianity as to at what point does Islam diverge and “miss the mark”.

Certain correct ideals espoused by Islam are “there are no gods, but Allah” (Allah of course being the Arabic word for God, which being a semitic language shares roots with its Hebrew version, Elah, El, and Elohim).

At the individual level, I realize people have to come to the Truth in their own way and I can respect that. If a person subscribes to a different belief system, than I simply attribute it to that’s where they are in their spiritual development and they’re trying to come to it on their own in a sincere (I hope) manner.

However, in terms of a functioning society, you cannot have “I’m okay, you’re okay” morality because you have severe disagreements that may erupt in violence and thus destroy society because people have no set rules of right and wrong.

The latter is generally what concerns most people, especially because it feels as if the world is being turned upside down. What was once good is now evil, and what was abhorrent is now championed.

If you’re really interested in getting a better idea as to some of the influences of Christianity, it’s recommended to read the Pentateuch (Catholic version of the Hebrew Torah), and the Historical Books, from Joshua to 2nd Book of Kings. Though it may take a while to read through, I’ve found myself enriched with a better understanding of where our spiritual predecessors, the Jews, came from, and how the Law given to them by Moses (which in turn was given to him by God) has helped to shape Christian thought.

Also, you may consider reading The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri for an insight on many of the modern day perceptions we have of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Though a work of fiction, it is nonetheless essential reading for a broader understanding of Western literature. Personally, I have the Barnes and Noble versions of The Inferno and The Purgatorio, but need to find The Paradisio. (Also, I may re-read the Inferno before reading the Purgatorio, though after I’m finished with either the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), or New American Bible, Official Catholic Edition, 1980.

That’s a bit of a generalization. However, I agree with you in principle, that if campuses allow Christian clubs or “prayer around the flagpole,” they should allow atheist clubs as well.

And back to the biggest point: If Christians would stop being so stupid in their endless fighting against modern science, atheists would have more in common with them. I have witnessed a huge change in the scientists in my department since I came there in 2006. From knee-jerk comments about ignorant Catholics they have changed – through their experience of me as a Catholic who accepts evolutionary science – to see that my religious commitments do not prevent me from being a thinking being.

I am not saying that if we stamp our the ignorance of Young Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design Creationism we will automatically wean people away from atheism – that’s not my point or my intent. But I am suggesting that one of the reasons young people are attracted to atheist clubs may be that Christians look and sound so pathetically stupid in their rejection of scientific truth.

StAnastasia

The reason this is happening is because a small group with money and staffed by true believers in atheism have decided to join forces with others. Atheists are saying they are for same-sex marriage and for abortion. So, who is standing in their way? Christians. So, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered groups view atheist groups as allies in spreading their message, as well as pro-abortion groups. The more new young atheists, the bigger the voting block when they become old enough to vote.

This is all part of the same plan started in 1968. In the end, most of the issues and problems we have today have to do with human sexuality: 1 in 5 people have an STD, cohabitation with sex, the quickest way to be poor is to be an unwed mother, artificial birth control, same sex marriage and abortion. The Sexual Revolution broke the boundaries of an ordered and healthy society and produced one that is dysfunctional.

1968 Humanae Vitae tells Catholics to not use artificial birth control because if you do, you will value the love of your life less.
Send in the Hippies. The sale of millions of birth control pills was at stake.
Tell young people that mom, dad, priests and nuns know nothing.
Smoke dope. Have sex with your girlfriend. Woodstock Nation!

1969 Wife swapping in the movie Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice.

1970 Time magazine cover story about religious leaving the Catholic Church. Celibacy for priests is one topic of contention.

1973 Abortion legalized. Homosexuality removed as a disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual by non-scientific vote.

Abult bookstores selling porn appear everywhere. Topless go-go bars.

1978 The radical, divisive National Organization for Women convinces some women that the eternal enemy is men. “Sisters! Throw off the chains of your oppression!”

1980s No-Fault divorce completes its sweep of the country. Porn on cable.

1990s So-called Shock Jocks spewing filth. Then the internet provides access to filth 24/7.Church parking lots are almost empty, mall parking lots fill up. Profanity and Partial Nudity on NYPD Blue on ABC.

Phase One of the plan is complete. You can’t tell a non-religious person from a religious person. Romance and love disappear in movies. Now, boy meets girl, hop in the sack, and declare themselves a couple.

2000s Time for gay marriage. Among the strategies is pointing out how bad the straights are treating marriage, as if to say divorce will not exist in gay marriage.

continued -

Had Catholics listened to the Pope in 1968, we would not be in the mess we are today.

Some people blame this on Vatican II which is totally false. The end result was that one day, the Mass was in Latin and the next, a new, smaller altar faced the congregants and the priest said the Mass in English. Later, not eating meat on Friday was dropped. That’s it. All the Holy Days and previous customs were observed. I was there.

I heard a priest on Catholic radio talking about his days at a University in the mid-1960s. Apparently, there was going to be a debate about artificial birth control and a publication had been prepared with articles written by other faculty. He was asked to write an article but didn’t want to because he was so busy. He was then told that if he did not write an article defending Church teaching about birth control, then all the articles left would be pro-birth control.

It is clear that it takes only a handful of people to steer hundreds, and later, thousands away from true Church teaching.

I remember the abortion debate in 1972. Women coming on TV with passionate pleas, “Please. Please. Don’t let another woman die at the hands of a back-alley abortionist. Please! Have mercy.” And “It will be the hardest decision a woman will ever have to make and is between her and her God.” We were also led to believe that abortion was a “use in case of emergencies only” procedure.

We were lied to. Our trust was taken advantage of. We mistakenly believed some of these people were telling the truth. We were wrong. But we fell into it because we had a deep respect for authority and a medium that was gradually turned against us and all people who wanted to lead functional lives - film and television.

By the time No-Fault Divorce was legalized in the 1980s, Hollywood was making movies about guys who got divorced. They’d go to the local bar and their buddies assured them it was a good thing. Meanwhile, in the real world, families were torn apart. Deep wounds formed in children. In-laws were suddenly no longer in-laws, and bitterness was created there. Kids were encouraged to be independent. Totally, radically independent. Mom and dad no longer had a say in “their” lives. And this was marketed as the “right way,” even though there was a long tradition of multi-generational family ties.

Even innocent looking TV shows like Coach showed a respectable couple living together and having sex. When the man would worry about what others might think, the woman assured them that since they were adults, they were now free to do whatever they wanted.

People who had been through abortions, divorces, single parenthood, and who had lost relatives in the carnage, literally had their lives turned upside down. Work for 40 hours, see your kids on the weekend and pay child support. But all of this was supported by the media. Books even came out instructing people about having a “healthy” divorce.

Finally, in the year 2000, an official proclamation was issued telling the rest of us that divorce harms kids. What? No professionals were around to see the tears and anguish on the faces of kids as their families were torn apart?

V.I. Lenin said: Destroy the family and you destroy society. An Atheist-Marxist dynamic is going on here.

Meanwhile, the Church became a place shunned by some women. I heard the following: “I’m not getting an annulment. I don’t want my kids to be turned into bastards.” And Catholic places of higher learning were infiltrated by liberal lay people. Only now is this problem being addressed. “How can you give someone a truly Catholic education if you yourself don’t have it to give?” according to a Catholic religious quoted in the Michigan Catholic.

It only takes a few people in positions of power to poison thousands of people. It only takes affecting a few judges or politicians to legalize sin. But the Church, following Christ’s example, has been slow to anger. Pope Benedict has identified Indifference as a real problem. One that allows those promoting alternate lifestyles to say, “Hey. What’s the big deal?” Such indifference allows our opponents to say: “Give it time. Those religious nuts will stop complaining after a while and we’ll just move forward. Give it 5, 10 years.”

I actually picked up a Detroit newspaper that told me in an article that there were no longer any absolutes. Today, the Dictatorship of Relativism tells people that what is true for me may not be true for you, creating alienation and anarchy.

The Church will not drag us back but will invite us. It will not pound on our door asking why we missed Mass. If you look at what the Bible tells us about love, that is the Church. It wants us to be in a relationship with Christ but will not force us. God will not force us to love Him either.

For all the reasons I’ve listed, we were gradually taught to love the flesh and that religion was restricting our “freedom.” Now that too many of us have done it the wrong way and truly suffered, it’s time to do it the right way and truly live.

Peace,
Ed

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